September 22nd, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Different Takes: Should we abandon idea of hell?

Editor’s note: The new documentary "Hellbound?" explores Americans' ideas about hell. We asked two prominent Christians who featured in the film to give us their very different takes on hell.

My Faith: The dangerous effects of believing in hell

Editor’s note: Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times bestselling author. His latest book is "Crazy For God."

By Frank Schaeffer, Special to CNN

Is it any coincidence that the latest war of religion that started on September 11, 2001, is being fought primarily between the United States and the Islamic world? It just so happens that no subgroups of humanity are more ingrained with the doctrine of hell than conservative Muslims and conservative Christians.

And nowhere on earth have conservative Christians been closer to controlling foreign policy than here in the United States. And nowhere on earth have conservative Muslims been more dominant than in the countries from which the 9/11 extremists originated – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

What a pair George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden made! On the one hand, an American president who was a born-again evangelical with a special "heart" for the state of Israel and its importance to the so-called end times, and on the other hand a terrorist leader who believed that he was serving God by ridding the Arabian Peninsula of an American presence and cleansing the "defiled" land of Palestine of what he believed were “invader Jews.”

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So whether you're an atheist or not, the issue of who's going to hell or not matters because there are a lot of folks on this planet – many of them extraordinarily well-armed - from born-again American military personnel to Muslim fanatics, who seriously believe that God smiles upon them when they send their enemies to hell.

And so my view of "hell" encompasses two things: First, the theological question about whether a land of eternal suffering exists as God's "great plan" for most of humanity.

Second, the question of the political implications of having a huge chunk of humanity believe in damnation for those who disagree with their theology, politics and culture, as if somehow simply killing one's enemies is not enough.

What most people don't know is that there's another thread running through both Christianity and Islam that is far more merciful than the fundamentalists’ take on salvation, judgment and damnation.

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Paradise, which Muslims believe is the final destination of the society of God’s choice, is referred to in the Quran as "the home of peace"

“Our God,” Muslims are asked to recite, “You are peace, and peace is from You.”

Since Christianity is my tradition, I can say more about it. One view of God - the more fundamentalist view - is of a retributive God just itching to punish those who "stray."

The other equally ancient view, going right back into the New Testament era, is of an all-forgiving God who in the person of Jesus Christ ended the era of scapegoat sacrifice, retribution and punishment forever.

As Jesus said on the cross: "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

That redemptive view holds that far from God being a retributive God seeking justice, God is a merciful father who loves all his children equally. This is the less-known view today because fundamentalists - through televangelists and others - have been so loud and dominant in North American culture.

But for all that, this redemptive view is no less real.

Why does our view of hell matter? Because believers in hell believe in revenge. And according to brain chemistry studies, taking revenge and nurturing resentment is a major source of life-destroying stress.

For a profound exploration of the madness caused by embracing the “justice” of “godly” revenge and retribution, watch the film “Hellbound?”

The film shows how the "hell" of revenge thinking, and the resulting unhinging of some people’s brains through their denial of human empathy, leads them to relish the violent future of suffering that they predict awaits the “lost” in hell.

Do we really want to go back to a time of literalistic religion. Wasn’t 9/11 enough of an argument against retributive religion?

We need “hell” like a hole in the head. It’s time for the alternative of empathetic merciful religion to be understood.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frank Schaeffer.

My Faith: Hell is for real and Jesus is the only way out

Editor's Note: Mark Driscoll is founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

By Mark Driscoll, Special to CNN

As a pastor, my job is to tell the truth. Your job is to make a decision.

When controversies over biblical doctrines arise, it’s a humbling opportunity to answer questions about what the Bible teaches without getting into name-calling and mudslinging. Near the very top of the controversial doctrines is hell.

What happens when we die?

Human beings were created by God with both a physical body and a spiritual soul. When someone dies, their body goes into the grave and their spirit goes into an afterlife to face judgment.

But death is not normal or natural—it’s an enemy and the consequence of sin.

Think of it in this way: God is the source of life. When we choose to live independently of God and rebelliously against God it is akin to unplugging something from its power source. It begins to lose power until it eventually dies.

The Bible is clear that one day there will be a bodily resurrection for everyone, to either eternal salvation in heaven or eternal condemnation in hell.

Christians believe a person’s eternal status depends on their relationship with Jesus and that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Our lives are shaped by the reality that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

What does Jesus say about hell?

Jesus was emphatically clear on the subject of hell. He alone has risen from death and knows what awaits us on the other side of this life. A day of judgment is coming when all of us — even you — will rise from our graves and stand before him for eternal sentencing to either worshiping in his kingdom or suffering in his hell.

The Bible could not be clearer: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

These are not just obscure Bible verses. In fact, Jesus talks about hell more than anyone else in Scripture. Amazingly, 13% of his sayings are about hell and judgment, and more than half of his parables relate to the eternal judgment of sinners.

Keep in mind that Jesus’ words come in the context of the rest of Scripture, which says that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Furthermore, he “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

God is far more loving, kind and patient with his enemies than we are with our enemies.

What does the rest of the Bible say about hell?

The Bible gives us many descriptions of hell including (1) fire; (2) darkness; (3) punishment; (4) exclusion from God’s presence; (5) restlessness; (6) second death; and (7) weeping and gnashing of teeth in agony.

A common misperception of Satan is that he’s in a red suit, holding a pitchfork at the gates of hell. But Satan will not[j1]  reign there. Hell is a place of punishment that God prepared for the devil and his angels, and it’s where those who live apart from God will, according to Revelation:

. . . drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb [Jesus Christ]. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night.

At the end of the age, the devil will be “thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Hell will be ruled over by Jesus, and everyone present — humans and demons and Satan alike — will be tormented there continually in perfect justice.

Jesus says, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ... And these will go away into eternal punishment.”

Is there a second chance after death?

The Bible is clear that we die once and are then judged without any second chance at salvation. As one clear example, Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

We live. We die. We face judgment. Period.

How long does the punishment last?

Some argue that the punishment of sinners is not eternal, a view called annihilationism. This means that after someone dies apart from Jesus, they suffer for a while and then simply cease to exist.

Annihilationism is simply not what the Bible teaches. Daniel 12:2 says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Jesus speaks of those who “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Grammatically, there is no difference here between the length of time mentioned for “life” and that for “punishment”; rather, there is simply eternal life and eternal death.

Am I going to hell?

The good news is that the closing verses of the Bible say, “Come!” Everyone is invited to receive the free gift of God’s saving grace in Jesus. Jesus is God become a man to reconcile mankind to God.

He lived the sinless life we have not lived, died a substitutionary death on the cross for our sins. He endured our wrath, rose to conquer our enemies of sin and death, and ascended to heaven where he is ruling as Lord over all today. He did this all in love.

The stark reality is this: either Jesus suffered for your sins to rescue you from hell, or you will suffer for your sins in hell. These are the only two options and you have an eternal decision to make.

My hope and prayer is that you would become a Christian.

Have you confessed your sins to Jesus Christ, seeking forgiveness and salvation?

If not, you are hellbound, and there is no clever scholar who will be of any help when you stand before Jesus Christ for judgment. You’re not required to like hell as much as you need to believe in it, turn from your sin, trust in Jesus, and be saved from an eternal death into an eternal life.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Driscoll.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Devil • Opinion

soundoff (7,963 Responses)
  1. Jorge

    Heaven & hell are two huge round dinner tables, exactly alike, with all the conceivable delicacies piled in the middle, surrounded by famished souls ready for their supper who are holding 5 foot-long spears. In heaven the diners ponder the situation, find the people who are within the reach of their spears and offer to serve them what their hearts desire off the middle of the table. Everybody takes turns, makes joking conversation and eternal friends. In hell, everybody wants to be first, threatening each other or trying to be the ringleader of a control group under some pretense of earthly privilege they once possessed. Patience goes short, tempers flair and bedlam ensues, folks spear each other, steal food from each other, and fight each other for eternity.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      How do they reach the middle of those huge tables? Why are the spears 5 feet long? Why are they famished if they are in heaven. What if someone trips and accidentally spears someone else – do they double die, through no fault of their own. If they are uninjured, then the who spear thing is silly. in fact, are these reconst-ituted bodies? Otherwise, why the need for food? And what about tipping the waiters who bring out the food? Is there money in heaven/hell? And where do they keep this money – are there pockets in heaven? Do people wear clothes in heaven? And what about the food – do you put the pork chops near the Jews or the Muslims?

      I think you need to work on your fairy tale a bit more.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  2. Realist

    ....I say, let religions do as they wixsh with one another,, however please keep your cr-ap away from innocent children. Also, quit using my tax dollar, grant money, to pretend you are running organizations with donations. ie catholic charities operates on over 67% of tax dollars. That means they promote their silly catholic flags through greater exposure because of our tax dollars. That is wrong and GET OFF MY TAXES, where is my protection from religions as we were suppose to have as Americans???

    September 24, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  3. Andres Conde

    As a born-again episcopalian, and coming back to Jesus by the grace of GOD. I that that for salvation to be a success more people need to be saved than those damned, otherwise, Satan wins. I would say also that the as humans cannot possibly understand the immensity of GOD's love for us. To say Jesus mission was to warn about hell like this author suggest is absurd. Jesus came to teach us how to live in GOD's light but also recognizing our humanity, that is his story in a nutshell. A true love story, so don't be telling me that the world is going to hell, rather that we all got a shot a salvation, given that we strive to progress living a life according to Jesus, regardless of how many doubts. Faith comes along the way, that has been my experience. Oh, one more thing, how absurd to think that my GOD, Yahveh, cannot also be Allah, how would I know? I am only an atom in this universe? I am here to love and be loved.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • JPX

      Andres Conde, just to give you some feedback; there is nothing more annoying that someone who is "born again". For whatever reason born agains seem to find it necessary to push their nonsense on to others. It's fine if you want to waste your live on magic and make-believe (i.e. religion), but keep it to yourself. No one else cares that you embrace Bronze Age thinking. Somthing terrible must have happened to you for you to be so damaged.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  4. Millennium3

    Here are the SOLID and CLEAR most Magnificent MATHEMATICAL proofs
    that GOD absolutely exists; so He will definitely judge all people according to their deeds in a most Fair and Just manner.


    September 24, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  5. WASP

    hell has been used throughout history to scare the believers of a faith, not just christians. it's the old carrot and switch routine. show them the carrot, then show them the switch; they will go for the carrot because it does hope the threat of pain. it's the easiest way to keep sheep inline. humans enjoy pleasure and despise pain, thus easy answer if you want to keep converts inline give them something to fear and a goal of pleasure to work toward...............as we have seen throughout history it works every time.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  6. Realist

    I say, let religions do as they wixsh with one another,, however please keep your cr-ap away from innocent children. Also, quit using my tax dollar, grant money, to pretend you are running organizations with donations. ie catholic charities operates on over 67% of tax dollars. That means they promote their silly catholic flags through greater exposure because of our tax dollars. That is wrong and GET OFF MY TAXES, where is my protection from religions

    September 24, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  7. 1word

    Which religion is of God?

    Which religion promises to make crooked things straight, by the Power of God?
    Isaiah 42:16
    And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

    Which religion promises the gift of the Holy Spirit to direct our path?
    John 14:16
    And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

    Which religion preaches peace to all mankind?
    Mark 10:19
    King James Version (KJV)
    19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

    Man came into the world and sinned against God, until Jesus died we had to sacrifice lambs for sins and judgment and condemnation was placed in the hands of men. There were sins worthy of death in the old testament “The LAW” and men could stone people to death. Jesus death for our sins changed that and placed condemnation back in the hand of God.
    John 8:5-12
    King James Version (KJV)
    5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
    6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
    7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
    8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
    9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
    10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
    11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
    12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

    When the Lord said that he will magnify the law and make it honorable, it shows how Jesus commandments was in line with the law but he strengthened it because of the Grace of the Holy Spirit that lives in those that are SAVED! He changed adultery to lusting after someone, he changed killing to being ANGRY with someone. That’s magnifying the law and making it honorable.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • God is a man made delusion

      No offense Word, but just like every Christian I know you cherry picked the verses that supported your argument and ignored the verses that blow it out of the water. The bible is filled with examples of god oreded genocide, murder, and slaughter on a scale to make anything man has ever done paultry in comparison. An yet Christians insist that god is good since if he does these things they must be righteous, yet if a man does them he is considered monsterous. Logical? I think not.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • JPX

      No offense, 1word, but my eyes glaze over whenever someone starts quoting scripture. What's your point? Those words are no more meaningful to me than the words found in any work of fiction. What your post tells me is that you have wasted your life on nonsense.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • 1word

      My life if focus on things that are right. My life is on the right path.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • JPX

      “My life if focus on things that are right. My life is on the right path.” Your life is most certainly not on the right path if you waste your days believing in imaginary gods. Here’s some advice, finish that GED and take a few science courses. Once you have a basic education you will see how utterly ridiculous you sound with all of your god talk. I hate to break it to you but there’s no imaginary man in the sky looking over you. Enjoy the life you have now instead of wasting it. There is no afterlife, silly.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • 1word


      September 24, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  8. John Doe

    "Should we abandon idea of Hell?"

    Should we stop beating our wives?

    Irritating headline to say the least. I never have believed in Hell, never will, therefore I can't "abandon the idea of Hell"

    September 24, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Ashok

      You should really think about reading what you wrote before pushing Post.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • John Doe

      you should explain what it is I even said that touched a nerved and/or why

      September 24, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  9. JustPlainJoe

    So how many angels dance on the head of a pin?
    Hell is a lovely story to scare small children into obedience.
    After awhile, we grow up.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  10. Leigh

    Is hell for real? No.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • k

      Ok. And your argument against the existence of Hell is ....

      September 24, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • UncleM

      There is absolutely no evidence to support its existence. It's made up.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Benny V

      Doesn't need one... The burden of proof is on the believer.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • k

      Benny V: Untrue. She made a statement and should be in a position to support it. It's not my job to prove a negative. I simply asked her to support her contention.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • John Doe

      K, I'll help Leigh out.

      To disprove the existence of Hell would be no different from disproving fairies and unicorns. If there is no physical evidence of there being a hell, you can't say that it exists.

      This is something that is taught in grade school science. No one has ever proven the existence of the big bang or evolution, they're simply theories. You can have a theory about the afterlife but to say that you have proof of it without ever having seen it greatly disappoints me.

      If you can't disprove Hell, then you can't disprove that there are invisible pink elephants walking around or voodoo or any other nonsense that I am sure you don't believe in.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • k

      John Doe: Based on your answer, I'm assuming that only things that you can prove by the scientific method are acceptable truths. Is that your contention? If that's your belief, then there is nothing pre-1700 worth knowing ... because it pre-dates our scientific (enlightenment) methodology. And there's no chance that there might be things today that are beyond the perview of science. That's a pretty limiting worldview. So, while simply equating hell to unicorns may be a fun way to criticize (belittle) another, it's not a particularly strong argument.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  11. MasterBlaster

    There *is* a hell, and it's that hot sandy place between Africa and Asia.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • fiftyfive55

      the beach ?

      September 24, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  12. Corey

    Only crazy right wing people can argue about god being real using scripts from the bible, that's like trying to prove superman is real by using comic books for proof.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • k

      Despite your condescending tone, you do make a good point. Belief in the bible presupposes a belief in God (and the belief that the bible is the inspired word of God). So using the bible to "prove" God's existence is circular. But there are any number of compelling reasons to believe in God.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      " But there are any number of compelling reasons to believe in God."

      Such as?

      September 24, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • God is a man made delusion

      Sorry K, but I'm with Steve on this one. Remove that presumption of existence (as atheists do) and then read the bible. When read objectively it inevitably leads one to the conclusion that god is nothing more than a man-made projection of a contemporary tyrant with supernatural powers.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • k

      Atheist Steve: For starters, how about the argument of contingency?

      September 24, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Ah a part of the cosmological argument.
      Look...try as you might you can't get from "we don't understand X" to "therefore God exists". It's simply an argument from ignorance. There is no correlation between not knowing and concluding "God did it".
      If you want to demonstrate the validity of a god claim then you necessarily have to demonstrate god, not a gap in our knowledge.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • k

      Atheist Steve: I disagree with your conclusion. I'm not suggesting that God fills in a gap in our knowledge. That would make Him just one link in a long chain that we otherwise understand. The argument goes to the end of the chain. That's not a gap ... it's causality. And there is a huge difference. So what is the answer?

      September 24, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Just look at the second premise of the argument from contingency.

      " If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God. "

      This is incorrect as it ignores any other possibility such as our universe being merely part of the multiverse. Further it jumps directly to God as an explanation without any causal link. One would first need to determine that God can cause anything. So far the only such link is stories in ancient tribal lore. Hardly compelling.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      The answer is "we don't know". In fact we may never know.. Anything else is dishonest.
      The only real difference in our view is one of intent. You think the universe and it's contents are here for a purpose. I don't and there isn't anything in nature that point to there being a purpose. What would happen if we were to contact an alien civilization that was millions of years ahead of us in technological advancement and found out they didn't hold a belief in a god or higher being? Would we still cling to our egotistical perspective of our cosmic significance? In our fear we have anthropomorphized the universe. We put a human face on God...not the other way around.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  13. Donna

    You stated: ...many of them extraordinarily well-armed – from born-again American military personnel to Muslim fanatics, who seriously believe that God smiles upon them when they send their enemies to hell.

    But this is not true of the God of the bible, instead:
    2 Peter 3:9
    New International Version (NIV)

    9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    God loves everyone, and wants none to end up in Hell. But that they turn from their sin and be saved.

    You also stated: Because believers in hell believe in revenge.
    But again, in the bible we are taught that God will do any required retribution-
    Deuteronomy 32:43
    Rejoice, you nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • criticalbuddhist

      Donna–it is silly to trying to "prove" something via texts or people who already believe that something. As someone else in the comment stream noted, it is like trying to prove the existence of super heroes by quoting comic books. Also, the New International Version of the bible is a joke of a translation. Please, if you're going to get real about your bible study, use something people can take seriously. The Revised Standard Version is a good place to start, but there are other fine translations out there.

      -Craig S. Shoemake

      September 24, 2012 at 7:36 am |
  14. via2

    Frank, if Christianity is just your "tradition" you have not yet experienced the life changing revelation of the Word of God.
    Christianity is life of Christ everyday not just Easter and Christmas. Jesus taught us the absolute truth of the Word of God. He even told us of a particular story in the Gospels using the actual name of man who had lived and died and what happened after his death. You said we need the story of Hell like a hole in the head. You're wrong. We need lies like a hole in the head. Hell is real, it exists, this is truth, and we need to know the truth. Jesus came to save whosoever would receive him from going there.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • MasterBlaster

      God clearly is not infallible, because he created one really screwed up planet. Christianity has to come up with all these caveats and convoluted excuses for why people do bad things, and why bad things happen in the world. Ultimately, in your book, it all goes back to god in the Garden of Eden.
      And besides that, humans are supremely arrogant to believe that in a universe of hundreds of billions of planets, that it was all created for us. Or that the world is 4000 years old.
      Even more disturbing is this belief in a "Personal Jesus" who wants you to be happy and healthy and who loves you and wants to save you from eternal damnation. Arrogance again. If god was perfect there would be no hell, and humans too would be perfect.
      Without religion, good people would do good things and bad people would do bad things. WITH religion, good people do bad things.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:39 am |
  15. GO_GOP

    On any day I'd prefer a Rick Santorum/Michelle Bachmann ticket for 2012 over the ones we have now. However, Romney/Ryan ticket is the next best thing.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:23 am |
    • Sagan

      Santorum/Bachmann? Good god, go crawl back into your medieval hole. You need to have your right to vote revoked.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • God is a man made delusion

      Thanks for chiming in and reminding us what's wrong with the GOP.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • JPX

      Wow. Just, wow. Did you even graduate from high school, GO_GOP? It's terrifying that people like you are allowed to vote.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • sam stone

      Why would you prefer frothy mix?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  16. TruthAboutDeath

    The lies not not frighten me, I am not afraid of death. In fact ONLY through dying can I ever HOPE to attain true peace again. Life in this hellhole has messed me up very very badly. I messed up, I killed other living things (not human), does that still make what I did forgivable? No it does not. I will pay with death. It's the ONLY right way. And that inclues all of creation, especially those "creatures" I hurt and killed. I pray fo their forgiveness, that's right i pray for the spirits of those insects, birds, and amphibians I killed to one day forgive me. If they will not forgive me, I am damned. But if they all do, if I am forgiven by them all- then nothing can, nor ever will, stop me from attaining everlasting harmony. That is my no-nonsense truth.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • GreenMeansGo

      Don't forget the plants! You know you've killed them. I know I have. There's a carcass right here next to my desk.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  17. Jeremy

    I'm a Christian and I'm in the Army. I know a lot of other Christians in the military. I don't know a single who believes that God smiles when we kill someone. The author needs to stop comparing Christians to extremist Muslims. Christians are not currently the ones detonating IEDs in Cafe's and killing foreign Ambassadors. People can talk about the Crusades HUNDREDS of years ago, but don't forget the atrocities committed against non-Muslims by Saladin in the Holy Lands. It went both ways back then. Today, it only seems to come from one direction...

    September 24, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • ameri2010

      Thank you very much for serving. Nice post. I agree with you. God can take care of Himself. Never in the Bible does God instruct people to murder in His name in an effort to rid the world of non-believers or to earn brownie points.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • sam stone

      Jeremy: Have you killed anyone? Have the other Christians you speak of killed anyone?

      September 24, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • JC Copeland

      It is inherent in the makeup of man for us to identify ourselves with a group. From "Fundamentalist Muslim" to "Roman Catholic" to "Taliban" to "Republican" to "Mickey Mouse Club". As we do.we lose a significant part of our individuality. For now we are bound to reply, as we are in this article, Jeremy speaks as a "Christian" and as one in the military. My respect goes to him for the military part for that is the "job" he is doing. A clerk in a convenience store in America sells potatoe chips and candy bars to customer containing ingredients that have the capability to kill (over the long run) yet it is our job. Will Heaven and/or Hell come in to play in our destination? Will God point his finger at the convenience store clerk, or the automobile salesman, or the oil field worker and say "As you have polluted mankind, so shall you be polluted". I think not as some day people in the entire world will come to realize that there is no Heaven nor Hell and there is no reward or payment for killing people. One would argue, "We have to have war to have peace" Amen brother for that is the only way we have been able to exist for the past centuries. The actual reward for winning in war is that one has protected his countries values and saved his family from being eviscerated. No Heaven, no Hell. A very hard concept for the major religions of this World to get their arms around, especially the Muslims who have used those arms to keep the C-4 from falling and blowing up their toes.....

      September 24, 2012 at 7:47 am |
  18. nab

    i think that many people hate islam without reading a word about islam.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • ameri2010

      Actually, I don't hate. I read much about every religion. Christianity, based on the Bible, is the book that has historical accuracy. The Word of God is eternal and is the only book inspired by God. The Bible claims to be written by God and then proves its divinity by many infallible proofs. The phrase "Thus saith the Lord" is found over 3,800 times int he Old Testament alone. The words of Moses are connected with the words of Christ and when Christ walked on earth, He authenticated Moses and the entire Bible stating it's 100% accuracy and warned of false prophets that would come after Him. Christ placed His stamp of approval on the Scriptures and stated there would be harsh judgment to those who attempt to mislead others and take away or add to the Bible. Until proven otherwise, I accept the authorship of the Bible as reliable just as I do with literature written from those who died before I was born. Additionally, history has shown that the Bible is the indestructible Word of God just as God promised. "The word of our God shall stand forever." Isa. 40:8

      September 24, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      ameri2010: So what about the many contradictions in the bible – did god make those mistakes? The talking snake: you believe that a snake actually talked? i wasn't ware that snakes were equipped with a larynx – who knew?

      It's simply a book, that bible of yours, written BY people, to CONTROL and MANIPULATE people. Based on the content of your post, I'd say that control and manipulation has you completely in its grasp

      September 24, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • Jamal Ahmad

      how many versions of the bible are therE? which one is the most infallible version? you have some bibles with 72 books and some with 66 books, also numerous contradictions. The bible doesn't even identify itself as the bible. Bible means Holy book. who named this book the bible? further more, the bible when translated from hebrew to latin, lost most of its meaning. from latin it went to other european languages. If it was the infalible word of god, u should have retained the Hebrew.
      On the other hand, The Quran, identifies itself as the Quran, it identifies its Author as well, and the process of revelation. The Quran has been preserved and the arabic language preserved. translations are made directly from the original language, as well as millions of muslims who learn the entire Quran by heart. this is also a method of preservation and a miracle in itself. The quran clearly states that it has not come to wipe out that which came before it, The old and the new testament, but instead to confirm that which is correct and true, and to guide aright. We all know, that the bibles are constantly revised and pieces changed, when new evidence comes along that a certain verse is not deemed authentic. If it was the infalible word of god, humans would not need to revise it, nor the spirit. Please look into the origins and the preservation methods of the bible and the quran. open your mind.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @ Jamal: But the Quran itself is full of borrowings from the various parts of the bible. It has been translated and retranslated. Written Arabic itself was not standardized until the 9th century – earlier versions and translations would have vastly different meanings. And what about the supposed satanic verses – where leave is given to follow other older gods. Who is to say which parts are supposedly the voice of satan?

      The Quran suffers from EXACTLY the same failings as the bible, especially when it is claimed that it represents the true and infallible word of god.

      And taking the two side by side, the bible and quran can't BOTH be right, and yet both Jamal and Ameri2010 have exactly the same claim, and use exactly the same evidence – ie none – to make their equally invalid claims

      September 24, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  19. Jason

    Religion and hell aside, I can't believe that this author would compare George W Bush with Osaa Bin Laden in the first paragraph. Can you imagine if someone compared President Obama to Bashir Assad? Oh the horror! Have some respect for the office.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • ameri2010

      Agree. It's hard to take anybody seriously when they stoop that that level of logic.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • sam stone

      "It's hard to take anybody seriously when they stoop that that level of logic."

      Pretty much describes most of the theists who post on these forums, including you ameri2010

      September 24, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  20. bohdanruz2

    When ever there is discussion on religion, it ends up with everyone hating each other. If Muslims want to be Muslims they get judged for who they are. The same with Christians and Atheist . We all have a choice to believe in a God. I go for Jesus just based on my personal experience as yes he died but he is living within me everyday. Now I'm not planning to change a Muslim's or Atheist view if they refuse to believe different. Nor will I hate them for who they are.
    The article talks about heaven and hell. For me that is Jesus and Satan (devils). Having read quite allot about devils etc, I can surely say, I don't want to be on that side. Living for myself didn't get me very far either. Living for Jesus, saved my life. So I'm happy loving Jesus. Hope everyone might find true happiness before judgment day. The feeling everyone feels but tries to ignore.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • ameri2010

      Very well said.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:19 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.